joy of nesting

Boxwood, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.  And rosemary, and bay, and thyme. 
Gardening for me began as a necessity. I wanted the outside of my house to present itself well to the world.  I love all plants and garden paraphernalia such as statues, iron gates, and trellis. But when I first started out as a gardener and Jim, Christian, and I were in our first little starter house, my yard was mostly deck.
I had no idea what went into gardening or hard scape. I knew about tulips, daffodils, and half barrels. Pouring in the soil pretty much comprised my gardening skills.  Some three houses later I have more garden than I can manage alone.  I started tending to my Hillcrest garden before we even moved in. The house was in excellent condition for its age but the gardens needed a little help.

A lot of plants and the huge magnolia out front had to be removed. The ivy was in bad shape but the roses and mature azaleas were thriving. My dear friend and neighbor Mary watched in horror from the street below, hands on hips, as the tree service cut the magnolia down. It was over 75 feet and I think Mary felt it should have been left alone. Unfortunately it was uprooting our foundation.   

Melba and Lewis built the house in 1931 and lived there until about 1990. Melba was a real gardener and this garden looks the ways it does largely because of the designs she implemented early on.  I put some thought into the plants I chose as replacements, thinking of Melba and what she would have liked. I wanted it to respect her era and also reflect the Spanish style architecture.

What I “saw” in my mind was a garden with lots of greenery year round. I need greenery. It makes me feel healthy. I believe it’s nourishing to the soul. I planted lots of olives, more ivy, strawberry trees, English bay, Carolina laurel, bay standards, and several varieties of euonymous. My favorite greenery in the world being boxwood, I naturally have accumulated them throughout the yard. 
And I love what they do for your patio. My patio is concrete painted Timber Box Red from Kelley Moore and it looks better and feels better when “planted”. Melba’s peonies are beautiful this time of year. I also was thrilled to find a Lenten rose way up in the back yard! It’s the light chartreuse variety. And there is a camphor tree, lots of cotoneaster, a large mahonia, and woodwardia. I planted hydrangeas for arrangements in the summer.
Time for a little gardening, below.
My good friend Peggy decided she didn’t want Steve to have to maintain the fountain any longer and I’d always admired it’s special sound. She offered it to me recently and David did a beautiful job of installing it.  So grateful!

Even though the garden is minutes from our bustling downtown, it feels soft and protected.
Most items were purchased at my store S.S.Home. Topiary by Schubert’s Nursery. Iron daybed and muslin mattress by Comptoir de Famille. Long back cushion in striped ticking Two’s Company. Paisley down throw pillows by TAG. Coffee sack down pillows by Pottery Barn. Wicker furniture by Comptoir de Famille. Stone urns by Barreveld. Iron candelabra and red suzani style pillows Pier One Imports. Moorish style black metal hanging lantern by Lazy Susan. Rustic shutters custom designs by
Spring Moss.  
Thank you Baby.
The last of the old timers, my buddy Spreckie. He is an indoor dog but just loooves being outside with the people.
Boxwood Junkie. With evergreens, particularly those in pots, it’s really important to prune and feed. Potted evergreens especially need this because they don’t have as much new growth as deciduous plants and they don’t get as much nourishment from the soil like plants in the ground. I prefer to trim my evergreen topiary way back and feed right around Mother’s Day but it differs in other parts of the country. You want to trim when the danger of frost has passed but also before it gets too hot! Right in between. As maintenance feed them every other week, leaf feeding too, and trim them before they get too out of shape. 

June 15, 2010

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